CES showcases a lot of emerging and developing technologies. LG’s showcase this year debuted a smattering of new televisions and displays. None of them were quite as exciting as the LG OLED T, a fully transparent television.
It works like your typical television, but when powered off, it allows users to see whatever is behind the television itself. How does such a display work? Let’s take a look at the technologies behind transparent OLEDs, which manufacturers are driving development, and when you can expect to buy one for your home.
Transparent OLEDs: The Tech Behind It
Transparent OLEDs aren’t a new phenomenon. LG‘s take on the technology is a refinement and further development of a concept once relegated to transparent displays and signage. The OLED T operates upon similar principles.
OLED is short for organic light-emitting diodes, and there are a few key components that comprise how they work. An OLED display is sandwiched layers of semiconductors that emit light when receiving current.
In order for the picture to display, at least one of the layers has to be transparent. Most typical uses of OLEDs require the light to be emitted only from one side of the display, using more opaque materials to serve as the substrate instead.
A transparent OLED operates under the same exact principles, but the materials utilized have changed. Rather than needing a single transparent layer to emit light, all layers are transparent. Light is subsequently emitted through both sides of the display and, when powered off, can be nearly completely transparent.
The end result is like having a pane of glass that doubles as your television or computer monitor. It isn’t an element that has to be designed and accounted for in spaces but, rather, can be seamlessly integrated without being a focal point.
Transparent OLEDs: Who’s Developing It?
Transparent OLEDs have existed conceptually since 2013 or so, with purchasable samples of the tech offered. It was mostly relegated to signage. It provides a more economically sound alternative to other forms of lighted signs and displays for branding.
LG has been one of the driving forces behind the further development of transparent OLEDs. This makes sense given their showing at CES 2023. LG has been the only manufacturer leveraging the tech and further refining it.
LG’s developments have been previously relegated to more high-concept workspaces and architectural designs. Their showcase of a transparent television is a pivot from massive displays intended for office buildings, airports, and other industrial installations. Moving this technology to households poses interesting possibilities, especially for those designing living spaces.
Previous installations have made the integration of transparent OLEDs part of the design of a space. They aren’t the primary focal point but, instead, become just part of the environment. Some of the developed uses have seen them seamlessly blended into spaces. They can act as a high-tech display that isn’t an eyesore.
Transparent OLEDs: When Can They Be Purchased?
Those looking to get one of these cutting-edge displays in their own home might be sorely disappointed. While LG presented a massive showcase of their new line of televisions and displays, the LG OLED T isn’t a production model by any means. Instead, it’s just a concept, a reminder of where LG is pushing its own research and development.
It is difficult to speculate on the pricing and availability of a transparent OLED television from LG. While they showcased the tech themselves at CES 2023, there was nothing to indicate from their press releases or presentation that they would be committing to a full production run of these displays.
Now, this isn’t anything out of the ordinary for CES. While there are certain companies that go to showcase upcoming items and devices, it also functions as a place to debut new concepts which might never go beyond the drawing board.
Going off pure speculation, one can imagine that these would be cost-prohibitive compared to more typical televisions. They could easily and understandably be priced in a range similar to the range of 8K displays that LG is producing. It would be intended for those with deep pockets who only want the bleeding edge of technology for their home.
With no production time or release dates stated, it is only up to speculation, however. Hopefully, LG is able to release more details about an upcoming display in the coming months after CES 2023.
Transparent OLED TVs in the News
Since CES 2023 in February, LG has released a few updates regarding their transparent OLED prototype. Firstly, the prototype is set to begin mass production possibly in the second half of this year. And second, LG will be partnering with Microsoft to develop new technological features for the LG transparent OLED TV.
The Future of LG’s Transparent OLED TV
As LG continues to work on their prototype for the LG OLED T, we can expect to get even more updates. In the following six to 18 months, we could see the following:
- Better image quality possibly through use of mini LEDs or quantum dots.
- An announcement on the price of the TV and when it will be on the market.
- New features for a better user experience through their partnership with Microsoft.
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